SPRINGDALE -- Behind a strong defensive effort, Fayetteville (7-1, 4-1 7A-West) forced a three-way tie in the 7A-West Conference with a 28-0 victory of Springdale Har-Ber on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.Gallery: Springdale Har-Ber vs. Fayetteville High School Football
Har-Ber, Fayetteville and Bentonville now sit atop the standings.
Friday marked the first time in school history the Wildcats have been shut out at home. In fact, Har-Ber (6-2, 4-1) had been shutout just once before -- 2009 at Bentonville.
"I would be surprised [by the score]," Fayetteville Coach Bill Blankenship said. "That's not the kind of game we thought it would be. Our guys made plays, but, I'll tell you, we got breaks when we needed them. The turnovers, the defense getting us into [good] field position was big."
Senior safety Andrew Ellis sparked the Bulldogs, finishing with two fumble recoveries, one for a touchdown, and an interception.
After a scoreless first quarter and a 44-yard Fayetteville punt downed at the Har-Ber 10, the Wildcats were whistled for consecutive penalties, backing them up to their 2. Har-Ber quarterback Payton Copher then mishandled a high snap, and Ellis recovered for the first score of the game with under four to play in the first half.
Fayetteville carried the 7-0 lead into halftime, then poured it on in the second half. Midway through the third, the Bulldogs faced fourth and 2 deep in Har-Ber territory, but quarterback Taylor Powell found Brennon Lewis for a 15-yard gain to the Wildcats 5.
"It was a huge play. I knew we could make the play when we had to," Lewis said of the fourth-down conversion.
A couple of plays later, running back Dan Hinton ran in from 5 yards out on a toss sweep to give Fayetteville a 14-0 lead.
Ellis capped his big defensive night in the third with a fumble recovery and 78-yard return that set up Powell's 8-yard score on an option keeper.
After another Har-Ber turnover on downs early in the fourth, Powell hit Barrett Banister with a 5-yard touchdown pass, his ninth of the season, to set the final score.
"Our offensive line played great all night. It's a great team win," said Powell, who finished 15-of-20 passing for 205 yards. "I'm really excited for the team; the defense played lights out. They're the MVP of the game, and the offense picked it up in the second half and the scoreboard showed it."
Friday night was an uncharacteristic one for Har-Ber, whistled for a season-high 15 penalties for 134 yards. Akial Byers, who finished with a handful of tackles for a loss, and the Fayetteville defense held the Wildcats to 109 yards rushing, their second lowest output of the season.
"We have to be more disciplined as a group and, of course, a little adversity hit us," Har-Ber Coach Chris Wood said. "We didn't handle it the best, and it'll hurt you. But give credit to Fayetteville. They're a fantastic team."
Sports on 10/22/2016
Print Headline: Fayetteville pitches shutout